Yaseen Ali Ege murder: Mother killed son over Koran studies

image captionSara Ege had denied the murder in July 2010

A mother who beat her seven-year-old son "like a dog" when he failed to memorise passages of the Koran has been found guilty of his murder.

Sara Ege, 33, beat Yaseen Ege to death at their home in Pontcanna, Cardiff, in July 2010 and set fire to his body.

She was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice at Cardiff Crown Court. Sentence was adjourned.

The boy's father, Yousuf Ege, 38, was acquitted of causing Yaseen's death by failing to protect him.

image captionYaseen Ege was beaten to death by his mother, who then set fire to his body

It was initially thought Yaseen had died in the blaze at the family home but tests later revealed he had died hours earlier.

His mother had pleaded not guilty to his murder and claimed her husband was responsible for Yaseen's death.

She said she feared her husband would kill her and target her family unless she confessed to the murder.

That confession - made to police days after the death of her son - was captured on video and played to the jury during the five week trial.

During the hour-long harrowing footage, university graduate Ege described how the young boy collapsed after she had beaten him while still murmuring extracts of the Koran.

"He was breathing as if he was asleep when I left him," she said.

"He was still murmuring the same thing over and over again. I thought that he was just tired."

When she returned 10 minutes later she found her son shaking and shivering on the floor. He then died.

Within moments she said she decided to burn his body and ran downstairs to get a lighter and a bottle of barbecue gel.

'He never complained'

In police interviews she also confessed to beating her son for no reason and that her anger often led to her being out of control.

She and her taxi driver husband had enrolled Yaseen in advanced classes at their local mosque as they wanted him to become Hafiz - an Islamic term for someone who memorises the Koran.

The court heard Ege become more and more frustrated with her son's inability to learn the passages he needed to.

She told officers: "I was getting all this bad stuff in my head, like I couldn't concentrate, I was getting angry too much, I would shout at Yaseen all the time.

"I was getting very wild and I hit Yaseen with a stick on his back like a dog."

She later retracted her statement.

'Suffered terribly'

The prosecution said that Yaseen suffered significant abdominal injuries that were the cause of his death.

They included fractures which were non-accidental. He also had numerous historical injuries.

"Sara Ege made no attempt to seek the medical attention he so obviously needed," prosecutor Ian Murphy said.

"He clearly suffered terribly. She started the fire to hide what she had done."

However, Ege insisted that both she and Yaseen had been beaten by her husband, adding he had been violent throughout their marriage.

She told the jury that she did not take the boy to the doctor because she feared for her safety and that social services would take her son away.

Her mother Nafees Ahmed also gave evidence to say that Ege was a good mother who looked after her son well.

Ege was found guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice by burning Yaseen's body.

Her husband was cleared of causing or allowing the death of a child by failing to protect him.

The jury returned unanimous verdicts after eight hours of deliberation.

'Deeply tragic'

As the verdict was read out Ege broke down in the dock, holding her head in her hands and crying.

Judge Mr Justice Wyn Williams told her she faces a term of life imprisonment.

image captionEmergency services at the house in Pontcanna in 2010

He added that he would determine a minimum sentence for her in the New Year after a medical report had been completed.

Her husband showed no emotion as he walked free from court.

Speaking after the verdicts, Deborah Rogers, district crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the "deeply tragic nature" of the case had been "all too apparent".

"We should not forget that at the heart of the case is the loss of a bright and friendly young boy who had his whole life ahead of him," she added.

"It is therefore right that the circumstances of Yaseen's death were fully examined in a criminal court."

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